PIES occupy a special place in the hearts of us south Cumbrians.

Talk to an Ulverstonian of a certain age about the best thing about the town in days gone by, and pies and their purveyors will invariably feature, eyes misting over at the memory of Parkinson’s, Salmon’s, Bennett’s and others’ pies.

In Barrow, Green’s pie shop rightly reigns supreme - and it will be a sad day for the town when pie production ceases from this much-loved business.

It is to be hoped that day never comes. Green’s pie lovers (and we are legion) can now find their favourite products in Dalton - and I paid a visit to the shop last weekend, denuding the shelves of meat and potato and steak and kidney, in order to give my husband (hitherto a Green’s virgin) a taste of heaven.

It would be an understatement to say he was impressed. I can only think of a few things I’ve done in nearly 25 years of marriage which have given him as much pleasure as that steak and kidney pie. Which is worrying, if nothing else.

So with pies very much in mind, we set off for this week’s food review, heading into Barrow to Jefferson’s in Duke Street which, since my last visit some years ago, has had a bit of a smartening up.

It was doing a brisk lunchtime trade, with plenty of customers in the dining areas. We settled in comfy high-backed chairs in the smart and clean area behind the bar, taking in the crisp lemon and grey colour scheme. It’s not cutting edge stylish, but a perfectly pleasant setting for a snack or meal.

We went classic. A prawn cocktail to start for my husband, which when it came was a generous bowl of juicy prawns, with two hunks of fresh brown bread and all the prawn cocktail elements you’d expect. A standard pub starter done well.

For mains we went for, yes, pies! Steak and kidney for Gordon at £9.45 and meat and potato for me at £7.45. Both with chips and gravy, mine with mushy peas and Gordon’s with mixed veg.

Would they be as good as the Green’s versions we had tucked into but a few days earlier? No. But you can’t improve on perfection.

My meat and potato was very good, having said that. It was packed with juicy mince and potato and was a huge portion. The pastry could have been crisper, but the filling was great. This was a good pie. The mushy peas were spot on, too.

Gordon’s steak and kidney came in an earthenware bowl, with a crisp, puff pastry topping. It was OK but underseasoned, more kidney than steak and it contained peas. Who puts peas in a steak and kidney pie, for heaven’s sake? The veg were watery - and looked and tasted processed. Unable to bear the disappointment on his little face, I nobly donated my meat and potato to Gordon, and he cheered up somewhat.

And so to the chips. The Jefferson’s chips are decent bar meal chips. They’re not gastro pub chips, i.e. twice- or thrice-cooked. They’re just chips. But, boy, were there a lot of them. Far, far, too many. Between the two of us, there were enough to feed at least six people. Not even Billy and Bessie Bunter on a binge with Mr Creosote could get through this ludicrous amount of chips. Wasteful and unnecessary, we both felt. I’d far rather see a pound or two knocked off the price and fewer chips. Nobody needs that many - and certainly not at lunchtime. Despite our best efforts, there were still gazillions of the things on both our plates. Daft. And if a potato shortage ever hits these parts, I’ll know who to blame.

Jefferson’s does decent pub grub and I can see why it’s popular. There’s a comprehensive menu featuring all the pub classics you’d expect, with plenty of light bites and kids’ meals.

If you like lots of chips and if you aren’t too much of a purist when it comes to steak and kidney pie, you’ll not be disappointed.

Food 3.5

Service 3.5

Value 3.5

Atmosphere 3


Serves all day

Large menu

Clean and bright


Chip portions encourage gluttony